Battle Over Kirkuk Begins, Turkey Supports Baghdad Against Kurdistan

The battle over Kirkuk has officially begun as Iranian and Iraqi forces enter the city of Kirkuk with US weapons gifted to Iraq for use only on ISIS. The Kurdish Peshmerga under threat from A1-Abrams Tanks now in the hands of the Hashd Al-Shaabi (an Iranian backed militia in Iraq) fell back to the city’s center.

Kurdish casuties have already been reported by Kurdistan 24 and Rudaw.

Peshmerga reinforcements have been sent from Erbil to push out the Iran-Iraq army now occupying Kirkuk and the oil rich region around it.

In a breaking development Turkey has publicly backed Baghdad over the Kirkuk crisis in a carefully worded statement:

“We are closely following the steps the Iraqi government is taking to establish its constitutional sovereignty over Kirkuk, the homeland of our Turkmen kin throughout history. Turkey will side with the Iraqi government in taking steps to ensure lasting peace and stability in the country,” the statement read.

Turkey has reportedly built up their defenses against the Syrian Kurds in preparation of their own assault against the Kurdish region in Syria.

Will US Back the Kurds?

Given that Baghdad, after years of US support has openly handed over A1-Abrams to America’s number one enemy, Iran, as well as after years of training with the US has now openly switched allegience to Tehran, US policy must change.  In order to hold Iran back the Kurds must be seen as the frontlines in stopping Persian expansion.

Given the fast pace of events in and around Kirkuk, the US military leadership has been reported to be meeting with Kurdish leadership in Erbil.  This meeting is a foreshadowing of preperations for a push back against the onlsaught by the merged Iran-Iraq army.


Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi Close in on Kurdistan

The Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi, which is an Iranian proxy in Iraq has been reportedly moving in on Kirkuk as of Friday.  The group, backed by the Iraqi military gave the Peshmerga and Kirkuk governor a list of demands.

Rudaw reports: “Peshmerga officials, including Sheikh Jaafar Mustafa, head of the 70 Force, confirmed on Friday that the Hashd al-Shaabi demanded the Peshmerga leave their posts south and west of Kirkuk in order to allow for their forces and the Iraqi army to move in on Thursday night.”

The Iraqi government has given the Kurds until 2am on Sunday to vacate all the land it has acquired in fighting ISIS. Most of our sources in Kurdistan have confirmed this and clearly stated that the Peshmerga has no attention of pulling back.

Furthermore, these sources have confirmed that the Peshmerga, in anticipation of a wider conflict with Iranian proxies and the Iraqi military have closed the main road between Mosul and Erbil.

Iranian Revolutionary guards are reportedly already blended in with their Iraqi counterparts.

“The Iraqi army and the Hashd al-Shaabi are not the only state that are attacking us. We have intelligence with 100 percent accuracy that there are also the Iranian army and the Revolutionary Guards among them,” Shwan Shamerani, commander of the Peshmerga second brigade said.

The Iranian calculus is clear.  The regime in Tehran views Trump’s move to decertify the Iranian Nuclear Accord as well as placing the Revolutionary Guard on a terror group list and the rise of an independent Kurdistan as interwoven events. The Iranian regime can waste no time in taking on a rising Kurdistan.

With the Kurdish Peshmerga ready to hold onto its territory, the first big test for an independent Kurdistan is set to get underway.  With Trump’s move against Iran in the geo-political arena still fresh, the question remains whether this will translate into support for Kurdish independence on the ground. Eitherway, the coming Iranian Kurdish conflict maybe the opening shot in a wider war.